With the conclusion of Game 5 of the Korean Series (KS), the 2023 KBO season has come to an end.
Now, the off-field events will catch the eyes and ears of baseball fans.
The first team to gain attention this off-season is the SSG Landers, who will soon welcome a new manager.
While the appointment is imminent, an SSG team official said on Thursday, “It’s not a decision that can be made anytime soon. There are still procedures to be followed,” and “we haven’t even finished interviewing candidates.”
The club has narrowed down three candidates for the job and has already interviewed two.
LG Twins hitting coach Lee Ho-joon, the “only publicly available coach” of the three, will soon meet with SSG officials as an “interviewer” and “candidate” for the job.
SSG identified Lee as a “managerial candidate” before LG began the Korean Series and asked for “time to interview him after the Korean Series.
LG won Game 5 of the Korean Series against KT Wiz at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 13 to clinch the title.
LG officials, including LG coach Yoon Kyung-yup, said, “If Coach Lee Ho-jun plays a bigger role in another club, we can let him go with a wave.”
SSG is cautious.
“We are in the process of narrowing down and interviewing coaching candidates and selecting a finalist,” said a club official. “We did not conduct interviews with a specific person in mind. After the interviews, we will select a finalist based on the criteria set by the club and go through the process of obtaining the approval of the parent organization. We also need time to explain to the coaches who interviewed. It can’t be finalized in a day or two.”
Prior to SSG’s acquisition of the SK Wyverns, SK had one candidate in mind for the position, but negotiations broke down over contract terms.
This is why SSG strongly refutes the “SSG coach speculation” saying, “No one can be called a candidate until we announce the appointment of a coach.
On March 31, SSG fired former head coach Kim Won-hyung, who had two years left on his contract.
In his first season (2021), the team finished sixth and failed to qualify for the postseason, but last year, the team won the wire-to-wire regular season title, staying in first place from the start to the end of the regular season, and won the Korean Series to complete the overall title.
This year, they finished the regular season in third place and were swept by the NC Dinos in the semi-playoffs.
In firing former coach Kim Won-hyung, SSG cited “generational change” as its rationale.
“We will put the baton in the hands of a leader who sees exactly where our organization should go, and who will bring about change and innovation,” an SSG official emphasized.
The SSG confirmed the departure of veterans Choo Shin-soo and Kim Kang-min and finalized 80% of the coaching staff. However, the team plans to finalize the organization of the coaching staff and players after the appointment of the head coach. 파워볼사이트